I write this blog for a number of reasons: my own amusement, to educate, to share various random thoughts, to tell stories, to stimulate discussion on topics important to nursing, to provoke thought beyond the superficial, to challenge assumptions, and lastly, to rant.
Today I am going to rant.
Those of you with delicate sensibilities may want to get out. I am going to use some earthy language. Repeatedly.
So, to begin: I love my colleagues with the generous love I share with my family, but like some of family, they can be gaping assholes.
I’ve been seconded again for more administrivia duties. Since part of what I’m doing will have focus on improving quality of nursing work life, I am very excited and eager to do this. I believe making our work places better for nurses will, in the end, save nursing as a profession.
For this work, I needed to buy some markers. With the manager’s permission I (innocently) ordered a pack of multi-coloured, fine point Sharpies, which with the wholesaler’s discount came to $6.35 (six dollars and thirty-five cents) plus HST, and charged them to the departmental budget.
The markers arrived on my day off.
Then the nattering started, which (from reports) quickly escalated from a simple “why were these markers ordered?” to attacks on my integrity, discussions about my worth as nurse, and lurid suggestions I was dogging it.
From the reaction, you might have thought I was running a child prostitution ring in the Resus Room, and was using departmental petty cash for start-up costs. It was that bad.
One of my colleagues, a woman I previously thought as an ally, was incredibly hostile. “Why” she asked, “couldn’t you buy your own?” Of course, her anger left me slack-jawed and stupid and the correct answer escaped me at the moment: for the same reason I don’t buy my own kidney basins and bath flannels.
Yes, it was bullying, and afterwards, I reflected on the irony that so soon after writing on the subject I should become a victim of it myself.
So, it was hurtful. But mostly it really, deeply pissed me off. Remember, I’ve been working with some of these nurses for ten years or more.
I know I’m a damn good nurse, and you’re lucky to have me, so fuck off.
I’m working hard to make your lives easier as nurses, so again, fuck off.
And yeah, I know about horizontal violence and the rest of that, but the bottom line: you are responsible for your behaviour. Stop being a high school gossip queen — and for some of you, you’re closer to retirement than your senior prom — and start being a nurse. Because when you undermine me or anyone of your nurse-colleagues, you’re really undermining yourself.
Another colleague, far more sympathetic, suggested that nurses have been doing it to each since Florence was beating the carpets at Scutari, and we are never going to stop acting, collectively, jerks.
I fear she may be right.
So I say again to those nurses who found it fun and interesting to shred my character in a few minutes time: um, fuck off. And fuck you. You aren’t worth my time.
End of rant. Thank you for your attention.